Giannis Antetokounmpo shares Hall of Famer’s advice

The Greek Freak told reporters what an NBA legend told him on draft night 8 years ago.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the greatest players the league has ever seen. At just 27 years of age, Giannis already has a Hall of Fame resume. He has won back-to-back MVP awards, a defensive player of the year award, an All-Star MVP, a championship, and a Finals MVP. The Greek Freak’s story is one of the most inspirational ones ever. From the streets of Greece to an NBA Champion. In a story by Marc J Spears of The Undefeated, Giannis speaks about how a Hall of Famer gave him advice that he follows to this day.

The Hall of Famer was none other than Dikembe Mutombo. Famous for his finger wag after blocking shots, Mutombo was a 4 time defensive player of the year and 8-time All-Star. Only Ben Wallace has 4 Defensive Player of the Year awards along with Mutombo in NBA history. One of the first African players to play in the league along with Hakeem Olajuwon, he is considered a pioneer for African Basketball. On the night of the rookie symposium of the 2013 NBA draft, Mutombo sought out Giannis to offer him words of advice.


In Spears’ Giannis’ recollection of the meeting between the 2 is mentioned. Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose parents are Nigerian, said  “He came and approached me. Huge guy. He said: ‘You got to make sure you take care of your body. You have to make sure you are coachable. You have to make sure you ice. You have to make sure you sleep.’. The legend gave Giannis the most valuable information he could get before he stepped on the court – How he could prolong his career in the NBA.

Giannis said that he continues to follow that advice and never leaves the gym before he ices both his knees and his ankles. Mutombo stressed to him how important it was to take care of his body to have a long NBA career. So far following Mutombo’s advice has worked great for Giannis. The superstar rarely gets injured and is built like a rock. His greatness is attributed to the fact that he listened to a legend like Mutombo.